2011 Stories March 6, 2012

Google must be napping to reenergize for its upcoming Motorola Mobility acquisition, because it has not completed a single buyout in 2012 despite purchasing 79 companies last year.

Google filed its 10-K with the SEC in January that revealed the Mountain View, Calif.-based search engine spent $1.9 billion (including stock and cash) on 79 acquisitions in 2011. The more notable purchases were ITA Software for $676 million, and Apture, Katango, and Clever Sense. That means the Internet giant bought six to seven companies a month in 2011. In contrast, it obtained four companies a month in 2010 for a total 48 acquisitions worth $1 billion.

With that said, Google has not picked up a single company since Dec. 13, 2011—roughly four months since its last investment. If judging Google’s spending habits over the last two years, the firm should have already completed 16 to 28 buyouts in 2012 to bulk its portfolio of interests. The company still has time to flash its money, though, as it grabbed roughly 25 of those 2011 acquisitions after the year’s third quarter.

More information is available below.

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2011 Stories January 9, 2012

Source: HTC

HTC posted unaudited consolidated results for the fourth quarter of 2011 this morning. The numbers do not look good for Asia’s second-largest handset maker as net income fell 26 percent annually to $11 billion in New Taiwan currency, or approximately $364 million USD – its first quarterly profit decline in two years. Revenue for the quarter was NT$101,419 million, a 2.49 percent annual decline.

Unaudited operating income reached NT$12.98 billion, but net income after tax was NT$11.02 billion, which is slightly behind the NT$11.6 billion expected by 11 analysts polled by Bloomberg.

Shares fell 4.2 percent to a three-week low of NT$462 in Taipei trading as Citigroup cut both the 2012 and 2013 earnings estimates for the company by 19 percent each. Citigroup explained its decision with the expected market share losses to Apple and Samsung. Surely, the writing has been on the wall for HTC for some time (here and here). More information and another chart are featured right after the break.

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2011 Stories November 25, 2011

Google has posted a nice new promo clip for Google+ to their YouTube channel, just in time for the official start of the holiday shopping season. Surprisingly, it isn’t about discounts or deals as Google opted for a different approach.

It’s entitled “Circles Love Story” and illustrates vividly “new ways of sharing the right things with the right people”. So, a guy meets this girl and puts her in the “Love of my Life” circle on Google+. Ring a bell?. She returns the favor by putting him in the Creepers circle, but soon changes her mind and moves him around a bit until he ends up in…

Just watch the clip above. Google also polished up the original Google+ advert and introduced a new tagline. Both the original and new advert are right after the break. Speaking of holidays, have you seen a Thanksgiving Google Doodle that lets you customize a virtual turkey?

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2011 Stories October 6, 2011

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC reported unaudited third quarter earnings. The numbers don’t disappoint and follow their equally successful June quarter sales trends when the company doubled profits on sales of 12.1 million smartphones. For the three-month period, HTC’s profits and revenues almost doubled year over year, buoyed on their extensive lineup of the recently released Android handsets.

Unaudited net profit topped T$11.1 billion, or about $360 million, an increase over the T$5.695 billion a year earlier. Operating income climbed to NT$20.2 billion in the third quarter and earnings per share were NT$22.03. Revenue for the quarter was NT$135.8 billion, an eighty percent sequential increase.

Going forward, HTC is expected to benefit from the ongoing interest surrounding the Android platform and a new cloud services model stemming from their acquisition of Dashwire. HTC is ranked the fourth smartphone maker globally and was the leading Android vendor and the second-best smartphone maker in the United States last quarter.

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2011 Stories September 21, 2011

Rock in Rio, a series of music festivals held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (and later in Portugal, Spain and other countries) will be live-streamed this year on YouTube in 24 different languages, Google made it known in a blog post. Headliners include Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Katy Perry, Elton John and Stevie Wonder. The rock fest is running from September 23 through October 2 so don’t forget to tune in to a live stream over at the Rock in Rio YouTube channel.

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2011 Stories September 14, 2011

IDC has just released their second quarter results for tablet and eReader shipments as well as an updated forecast for the remainder of 2011. While Apple continued to dominate with 68.3% of the global market during Q2, IDC expects Apple’s share to fall as vendors bring competitive Android devices to market later this year and early next.

The study reports second quarter tablet shipments worldwide increased 88.9% (303.8% year over year) citing robust demand for the iPad 2 and sales of 9.3 million units, leading the firm to raise its estimates for the remainder of 2011 from 53.5 million units to 62.5 million.

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2011 Stories September 12, 2011

Chrome and Android, the two crucial weapons in Google’s assault on mobile and desktop, are showing no signs of stopping. We already reported today that Android passed iOS globally. When it comes to browsing the web, Google’s Chrome zoomed past the 25 percent mark for the first time this weekend, ConceivablyTech observed. More precisely, Chrome grabbed 25.02 percent share this past Sunday, per StatCounter Global Stats data.

The software has been growing rapidly, registering global market share of 18.29 percent in April, 19.36 percent in May 2011, 20.65 percent in June and 22.14 percent in July. Apple’s Safari grew marginally, adding just 0.02 percentage points to its 5.17 percent share in July. The latest StatCounter data, which may not be representative of the entire market, really spells trouble for Mozilla’s Firefox. Mozilla’s browser used to be the preferred alternative to Microsoft’s market-dominating Internet Explorer not that long time ago. How times change…

Firefox’s share is declining five times faster than Internet Explorer’s, indicating that Chrome is slowly but steadily chipping away at Firefox’s market position, which is now within spitting distance. Firefox scored a 27.49 share for the month of August versus 41.89 percent for Internet Explorer. The fact that only 14.5 percent of web users, or 54 percent of Firefox users, have upgraded to Firefox 6 is another indicative of shifting tides as Google gains significant ground in the web browsing space.

Google also benefits from the silent updating mechanism, a computer process that sits in the background to automatically keep your Chrome installation up to date, without any intervention on your part. Did the latest StatsCounter numbers surprise you? The writing has been on the wall for some time.

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2011 Stories September 1, 2011

Like politics, smartphone wars come down to two major parties – Google and Apple – embroiled in a never-ending fight for consumers, especially those who have not made up their mind as to which operating system they’d like in their next smartphone. According to July 2011 data from Nielsen survey, “these ‘undecideds’ will be the ones device makers will be hoping to win over”. Interestingly, the Late Adopters among likely smartphone upgraders are the ones most likely to be undecided about their next phone platform.

The research firm discovered that forty percent Americans aged 18+ now have smartphones. Android leads the pack with a forty percent OS platform share  and iOS came in second with 28 percent. Compared to Nielsen’s June 2011 study, Android grew its share by one percentage point while iOS growth fell flat. The BlackBerry platform lost one percentage share and now stands at nineteen percent.

Of those buying a new smartphone next year, one third would opt for an iPhone and another third would go Android. This leaves other manufacturers outside the Android-iOS duopoly to fight for the remaining 33 percent of buyers.

Android, however, is the preferred platform of choice for the earliest of early adopters:

Among those who say they are usually the first to embrace new technologies, “Innovators” or the earliest of early adopters, Android leads as the “Next Desired Operating System” – 40 percent for Android compared to 32 percent for iOS. (Survey respondents were asked several questions to determine their attitudes toward new technologies.)

Moreover, the smartphone is clearly on the rise…

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2011 Stories August 18, 2011

It’s no secret patent-related legal disputes have become the subject of most media coverage lately…Whether it’s Apple halting sales of Samsung’s tablets, HTC going after Apple, or Google snatching up Motorola to beef up their patent portfolio, it’s clear the company with the most patents will have an advantage over others in the legal proceedings that we’re bound to continue encountering down the road. This is why we’re intrigued by the graphic above (via GigaOM) from mobile analyst Chetan Sharma charting the number of issued patents (in the US and Europe) between 1993 and 2011.

While these estimates of mobile communications related patents don’t take the quality of patents into account (which is obviously a huge factor in determining their long-term value), you can see from the breakdown below that Nokia and Samsung top the list, with the other expected players including IBM, Microsoft, Sony, Motorola, and Intel following.

Noticeably far down the list is Apple, the one company who seems to have had more success than others fighting patent-related issues recently. Again, these numbers in no way represent the quality of patents and the ability for companies to protect their IPs in the courtroom… which is also a good indication that perhaps we should be looking more closely at the quality of patents rather than the sheer number. expand full story

2011 Stories July 29, 2011

HTC reported second-quarter earnings today and just briefly glancing at numbers was enough to realize why they’re the #2 smartphone vendor in the US. Per their statement, HTC grew its revenues by 104 percent from the year-ago quarter and shipped 12.1 million phones during the June quarter. The company reported revenues of  NT$12.4 billion, or approximately $4.3 billion, a 19 percent sequential increase. Net income for the quarter topped NT$17.52, more than double from NT$60.96 billion in the year-ago quarter (and an 18 percent sequential jump).

The 12.1 million phones shipped include devices powered by Microsoft’s and Google’s software and amount to a 25 percent and 24 percent sequential and annual jump in terms of units, respectively. Looking at the third quarter, HTC is modeling for a 10 percent quarterly increase and a 90 percent annual jump based on shipments of an estimated 13.5 million phones.

New phone shipped in the quarter include the HTC Sensation, EVO 3D, Wildfire S, ChaCha, Salsa and Flyer. The average selling price dropped from $359 in the previous quarter down to $349 because they brought new inexpensive handsets to the market. Much of HTC’s growth came from Europe, Asia and the United States, where Nielsen ranks them as the second-largest smartphone maker. The achievement is even more impressive taking into account that Apple is now the world’s leading smartphone maker and controls two-thirds of total operating profits in the handset business.

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2011 Stories July 28, 2011

Motorola Mobility reported June quarter earnings today, nearly hitting Wall Street estimates with the reported GAAP net loss of $56 million, 19 cents a share. Revenues for the quarter topped $3.3 billion and non-GAAP earnings were nine cents a share. One of the noteworthy highlights includes shipments of 400,000 Xoom tablets, although the company wouldn’t divulge actual sell-through numbers. Xoom shipments amount to some 2.65% June tablet market share, per Strategy Analytics’s cumulative figures.The company also shipped eleven million mobile devices in total, including 4.4 million Android smartphones. Analyst Tomi Ahonen wrote on Twitter that Android shipments amount to an eight percent market share, making Motorola “8th biggest smartphone maker and 5th biggest Android”.

Xoom aren’t bad at all, actually a bit higher than the 300,000 units investors were expecting. Furthermore, the Xoom, Motorola’s inaugural Honeycomb tablet, arrived to market with little or no support from third-party developers plus devices from rivals ensued soon thereafter. Motorola benefited from an expanded distribution of the Atrix 4G smartphone and Motorola Xoom tablets in Latin America, China, Korea and Europe. They also rolled out four new smartphones in China. Moving forward, the company previously pledged to launch ten new devices in 2011 with Sprint, including Motorola Photon 4G which launches this weekend. Other tidbits right below…

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2011 Stories July 7, 2011

Samsung today posted a 26-percent drop in Q2 profits because its television and semiconductor operations are shrinking. Profits fell to 3.7 trillion won, or about $3.5 billion, versus 5.01 trillion in the year-ago quarter. The drop is being blamed on Samsung’s flat panel unit which is bleeding money for a second consecutive quarter now. Because demand for 3D TVs and consumer electronics in general is weakening, Samsung’s flat panel division has generated an operating loss of 73.5 billion won ($69.1 million) in the second quarter, Bloomberg explains. Just a year ago, the same unit profited 880 billion won (about $827 million). Slim margins and low prices in the cut-throat television business don’t help either. A Kiwoom Securities Co. analyst Kim Sung In slammed the company:

Only the phone business is holding up. Everything else is looking bad. There’s no bright picture for the company looking ahead.

Maybe the flat panel division will recover if Apple brings out an intelligent, networked television set in 2012 using flat panels from Samsung? It’s all peachy for their mobile devices unit which has benefited from strong smartphone and tablet sales. A recent comScore survey put Samsung as the #1 smartphone brand in the US that accounted for 24.8 percent share of all mobile phone subscribers aged 13 and up. What about other metrics? expand full story

2011 Stories May 19, 2011

Gartner is out with their first quarter 2011 mobile phone market survey. The results are astounding. The first quarter belonged to Google and everyone else was reduced to extras in an Android show. Both Apple and Google grew their respective share of the smartphone market, estimated at 100.8 million quarterly units – nearly double the 54.5 million units from the year-ago quarter. Smartphones grew 85 percent and cut into sales of regular handsets, accounting for almost one quarter (23.6 percent) of the 427.8 million handsets shipped during the first quarter.

Predictably, Android was the leading smartphone platform in the first quarter of 2011. And here comes your mind-boggling takeaway: More Android-powered smartphones were sold during the first quarter than the combined sales of Apple’s iPhone, RIM’s BlackBerrys, Microsoft Windows Phone smartphones and vendors belonging to the Other OS category. And that is worldwide, mind you. Go ahead, do the math yourself (the below table).

It’s fascinating that Microsoft and Symbian combined had three percentage points lower market share than Android. Also, while Apple doubled iPhone sales,  they barely gained any marketshare. This just shows that Android is gobbling up market share at a rapid pace, eating pretty much everyone’s lunch in the process…

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2011 Stories May 9, 2011

Google’s annual developer conference is due tomorrow, May 9, 2001 in San Francisco at 9am Pacific Time. In the run-up to the event the company has created a nice web-based timer clock at the official conference site, sporting a cool dot-matrix display that counts down the remaining hours, minutes and seconds until the event. With each passing second the passing numbers fall apart into dozes of dots that bounce off the screen bottom – that’s the power of HTML5 for  you.

Expect a host of product announcement and new features at this year’s conference which, by Google’s own words, will be focused on Android and Chrome. We’ll be keeping a close eye on pricing and availability of first Chrome OS notebooks. Developers are probably keeping their fingers crossed for a glimpse of what’s in store for the next Android operating system update.

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